While there's no actual pink slips changing hands, it will probably be just as hard for Riccardo Sestito to hand over the reins to the Langley Good Times Cruise-In at the end of this year - maybe even harder.
He admits, it would likely be easier for him to part with his 1960 Thunderbird convertible - which he's spent the past several years overhauling - than it's going to be for him to let go of the charity car show he's helped build.
Working closely with a small team of devoted volunteers, Sestito has spent the past 13 years as a board member with Cruise-In - the past six years in the driver's seat.
But, he insisted, it's time for him to step back, rest, and devote more time to his family. And, moreover, it's time for someone new to take control - and maybe kick Cruise-In into overdrive.
He's turning over the proverbial keys to Eric Taylor, one of the volunteers lured in seven years ago and who never left.
Sestito knows his successor is keen to wrangle control of this car show away from him - primarily because he's a Ford fan and Taylor's an admitted Chevy lover.
But the animosity and bickering between the two over car preference is all in jest, Sestito said, expressing confidence in Taylor to lead the show into the future.
The pair have been working closely together for the past year to facilitate a more seamless transition in 2013.
"I'm totally confident he's going to do a good job," Sestito said. "In fact, I think he's going to do great."
He credits Taylor with having a strong head for business and being more of a "structure guy" than himself, saying Taylor is anxious to expand the number of directors and number of volunteers involved at the sub-committee levels.
Taylor is also pushing to document all the different duties involved in making the show possible, and Sestito applauds Taylor's abilities on that front and said with the growth of the show, it's an obvious next step.
"I think Eric is going to be the guy who turns it into a legacy, ensuring it can live on indefinitely, while guarding against people who are wanting in for personal gain and greed."
Sestito said the delegation of duties to Taylor has reminded him of all his feelings of fear and dread that scared him the first year of his presidency in 2006.
Admittedly, organizing the Cruise-In has been stressful at times - especially a few years back, when a series of problems and concerns prompted the committee to cancel the show for a year.
But, for the most part Cruise-In has been a blast, Sestito said, joking: "I had a full head of thick black hair when I started on the board in 1999. Now, I still have a thick head of hair, but with a lot of greys in it."
He describes the past dozen years as fun, saying it was the people he meet (many of them now his friends) and the charities they helped that made all the sacrifices worthwhile.
"I'm going to miss a lot of that stuff, but then I'm going to be sitting back at home relaxing," he said, expecting to get a little teary eyed at the end of this year's show.
Sestito will remain on as past-president of Cruise-In, and continue to offer assistance and guidance where possible for the next few years.
But he's torn whether he'll actually be around for the 2013 show. Like a normal collector who lives for the car shows, he's considering bringing down one of his four cars or his truck (or maybe all of them) to display at next year's show.
On the other hand, he's contemplating packing up the family in their 1962 Chrysler Newport wagon and head south to camp and take in various car shows in the U.S. - something he's not been able to really do in past because of Cruise-In obligations.
Sestito's confident his retirement from the board will not dramatically alter the show - at least from the perspective of the car collectors or public who attend.
But the imminent change of leader is not the only shift afoot for the Cruise-In.
With redevelopment in the City core already underway, there's going to be changes to the layout of the show - this year for sure, and probably more in future, he explained.
"Buildings are coming down, including our old clubhouse," Sestito said, and inevitably the Cruise-In will lose some of its downtown real estate. But he hopes, when the dust settles, that Cruise-In can retain that small-town car show feel and continue to be based on the downtown streets.
"I think with the City growing- I think the downtown is going to continue to be a great place for the show," he said. "But obviously, this is going to redefine the show."
This year, for instance, the show is once again be shrunk down a bit. It will no longer be reaching up Glover Road to Logan Avenue, or travel along 56th Avenue in front of the Highland Plaza mall.
Instead, more of the show will now be incorporated into the casino parking lot, Sestito said, grateful to the Cascades owners for embracing the charity car show so completely.
The show centre, including the souvenir tent and the main stage, are also on the move.
They're being shifted further west on Fraser Highway, in front of the public health (old courthouse) building.
As well, the big City parking lot and the site of the old Timms Community Centre will be better utilized for this year.
. One prez's views:
Asked what makes the Cruise-In successful, Sestito replied: "It's because it's 100 per cent volunteer and without that the show wouldn't be what it is. No one is in it for personal gain. They're in it for the love of cars and to help local charities."
What's his vision for the show in future? He insists it must remain a charity event. But he'd like to see it grow to once again include a large public event on the Friday night - complete with the nostalgic cruise of the cars.
But this event must be organized by a local service club or group, not the Cruise-In committee.
He wants to see the Saturday car show continue to grow in numbers of cars and spectators, and he knows that with the success of those events, the automotive swap meet and car corral at Kwantlen on Sunday will automatically flourish.
Other than that, he wishes there was some way other than a gate admission to entice spectators to donate a toonie or more as a thank you for the show each year.
And Sestito wants the Cruise-In to become a household name, much like the Abbotsford Airshow, for residents throughout the Lower Mainland and around B.C. who just have to come and check it out. The media, he said, will be key to making that a reality.
@ Copyright 2013